By Daniel McConnell, Political Editor
The respected Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell made an emotional farewell to national politics today, as she made her last Dáil speech.
Ms Mitchell who has represented the constituency of Dublin South since 1997 requested time to address the Dáil to make her remarks.
She did so after she realised she would be in Strasbourg next week on official business.
She is currently a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and of the Council of Europe.
Leas Ceann Comhairle Micheal Kitt obliged her in her request and this afternoon Ms Mitchell took to her feet.
She began her contribution thanking the Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett and members of staff for their courtesy and friendship, but she quickly became emotional when she turned to her constituents.
"There hasn't been a single day I haven't been in here that I haven't been conscious of what a really great, incomparable privilege and honour it is to represent (my constituents) here in our national parliament", she said.
"And finally I want to wish all my colleagues the very best," she added.
She was greeted with warm applause from colleagues sitting in the chamber, and Mr Kitt wished her well in her future endeavours.
She has been a TD in Dublin South since 1997 and served as party spokesperson in local government, health and children, transport, arts, sports and tourism - as well as spokesperson on competition and consumer protection.
She confirmed last September that she would not run in the next general election.
The deputy thanked the people of Dublin South for electing her as a TD on four occasions.